Nick Leech, digital director, 123-reg, shares his best advice on creating a great social media plan
In today’s world, an estimated 90 percent of businesses now use at least one social media channel.
Do you fall into this percentage? If not, then you’re already behind the competition. If you do, how many times do you post? What do you post? Today, it’s about more than signing up for Facebook and adding ad-hoc updates.
Social media is increasingly becoming crucial to a company’s success both online and offline and it needs to be approached strategically.
Before developing a social media strategy, it’s important to understand what customers are looking for when interacting with brands. Existing customers usually follow brands on social media for deals and to get access to unique content. However, there is still a tendency for brands to see social media as a brand awareness and marketing channel, rather than a way to service, engage and retain existing customers.
Keeping what your customer wants top of mind will give you a head start when developing your social strategy. To ensure you’re able to do this, ask yourself three questions to target your outreach:
1. Do you want to build closer relationships with customers and brand advocates in order to solicit word of mouth recommendations?
2. Do you want to support customers in a location they prefer to hang out?
3. Do you want to drive sales and referrals?
From the very outset you need to be clear what your goal is and what value you will offer potential followers. The right goal for your business depends on the business driver. If you have a need to boost retention then customer service makes sense as a goal. Of course, your progress towards that goal needs to be measured with a key performance indicator. That’s the only way to know if your strategy is paying off.
Whichever you decide on, you should first identify what your audience is interested in and which network they spend their time on. This approach will allow you to tailor your content and keep it up-to-date with demand and interests as they evolve.
The key to executing this approach is research. Find out as much as possible about who your audience is, what industries they work in, what TV shows they watch and what motivates them. If you are starting with secondary research, and then follow through with surveys and interviews as this extra effort will really make the difference by allowing you to create appealing, and engaging content. Without this insight into your audience’s unique interests and tailoring your content to match, it will be hard to make people sit up and listen to what you have to say.
Once this direction is established, businesses should then assess their strategy; concentrating on their business as a whole to see where their audience’s interests can fit into the message the company most wants to get across to customers. When addressing their social media strategies, it’s essential that businesses are aware of the following tips:
1. Keep it simple
Make sure that you have key goals and objectives and that you stick to the points you are trying to make. It’s important that you always use an active voice, avoid jargon, and use small blocks of text where possible. Think about how to make core ideas stand out – for example formatting the relevant text in bold.
2. Convey your expertise
Create content that conveys what you can offer in terms of expertise, advice and clear, transparent guidelines. The key to success is keeping in mind that social media creates a two-way communication which makes it easy for readers to take on what you are trying to say.